Catholics need to get over this divorce stuff. It happens. Call it “annulment,” but it’s divorce. Two legally married people were legally married and got legally divorced. That’s what it is: a legal marriage (even by Catholic standards) has ended by divorce and now one or both members are remarrying. Stop the semantics. Even Pope Francis said that all “tribunals” are to stop charging money for this charade. The day an application for “annulment” arrives, rubber stamp it and let the parties move on.
A cousin of mine, who lost his wife through horrible brain cancer, met a wonderful woman. She had been married to a horrible man who started to physically/verbally/psychologically abuse her the next day. Within three months, bloodied and bruised, she divorced him. Decades passed. She met my widowed cousin who was ending his grief over losing his wife to cancer. They wanted to get married. Since they were both Catholic, they sought out an “annulment” from his wife’s abusive marriage, saying it was legal and “sacramental.” The process would take months and a lot of money (this was before Pope Francis said no charge must be given). They were beyond consolation. Fortunately, they found a priest who knows that the whole Catholic “annulment” process is a piece of sh*t, and exercised the Eastern Code of Canon Law that cover “mercy marriages.” He married them. The Latin Code regarding marriage/divorce be damned, as it should be.
Get over it. Calling a marriage where a couple has been married for 40 years, and produced children and grandchildren, and it ends because one of the spouses (usually the man, but not always) gets happy-pants “null and void” because someone four decades earlier “testifies” that “I don’t think this will work” is bullsh*t. An “annulment” is a divorce. Yup, that’s what it is. A legally and “sacramentally” marriage has ended and it’s a divorce. That’s what it is. No “annulment” can deny that.